He said Vail was "incredibly excited" to add Canyons to its system. "Canyons is truly a perfect complement to our existing portfolio of world-class resorts. In North America, there are only a handful of resorts that have the right combination of ski terrain, air access, town experience, developable land and upscale real estate markets to drive significant destination visitation from around the world.
"We are confident Canyons offers that potential as the resort matures over the coming years," Katz added, citing several reasons for optimism.
Purchasers of Vail's Epic Pass, he noted, would have access to Canyons along with Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Northstar, Heavenly and Kirkwood resorts. An Epic Pass for 2013-14 now costs $689 for adults. A 2012-13 adult season pass at Canyons cost $849.
"The addition of a Utah destination will be incredibly well received by our existing pass holders and make our pass products even more appealing to skiers and riders in the U.S. and around the world, particularly in Los Angeles and Southern California," Katz said, adding that spring sales of 2013-14 season tickets were up 18 percent over the previous year's offering. "The 138,000 passes we sold this spring is more than double the number we sold in the spring of 2008."
Although Vail's quarterly report noted Canyons had an operating loss of $2.2 million in the fourth quarter of its ski year, he predicted his company's expansive marketing apparatus will drive more business to the Park City-area resort, which has 4,000 skiable acres and made $75 million in improvements in recent years.
Vail's resorts attracted 9.1 percent more skiers in the third quarter than a year earlier, with Colorado resorts leading the way, up 11.8 percent. Larger crowds meant more revenue across the board. Lodging revenues were up 5.6 percent, dining 13.9 percent, ski school lessons 11.8 percent and retail/rental operations 7.4 percent.
Vail's real-estate holdings in Colorado also boosted the company's bottom line.
Nine units were sold during the quarter, two at the Ritz-Carlton at Vail, producing a net quarterly cash flow of $6 million. Vail also closed an $11.1 million land sale in Breckenridge, the report said.
Vail did not acquire real estate in the Canyons' deal. Talisker will retain ownership of 4 million square feet of developable real estate.